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  • Cited by 3
  • Print publication year: 2010
  • Online publication date: May 2010

3 - Science and religion in postmodern perspective: the case of Bruno Latour

Summary

Theology, unfortunately, has been for a long time in the same dire state where epistemology and aesthetics were before the onslaught of constructivism.

Bruno Latour

Bruno Latour is well known as an anthropologist and sociologist of science and technology. His books include Science in action (1987), We have never been modern (1993), The pasteurization of France (1988), and Pandora's hope (1999). He has done fieldwork in a molecular biology laboratory, organized museum exhibits, and written essays that also venture into philosophy, politics, and art history. His work is highly original, hard to summarize, and harder still to classify within current academic categories. He is often described as a leading ‘postmodern’ thinker, and he does indeed have things in common with others to whom that label has been applied, although it is not one he is happy to accept. Latour claims that what is usually thought of as modernity has never really prevailed, so it is not possible to move beyond it into a postmodern phase. In his view, the characteristically modern attempt to segregate the natural realm from the human one has never entirely succeeded. Hybrid entities have continuously been fabricated, despite all efforts to demarcate the two domains. To recognize this is to adopt what he calls an ‘amodern’ or ‘non-modern’ perspective. Latour also accepts the label of ‘constructivist’ to describe his approach to science studies, which is to say that he is interested in studying the practices by which scientific facts are made, rather than considering how knowledge relates to the world in the mode of classical epistemology.

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